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A Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols

An annual beloved Christmas tradition returns to St. Mary's, Medina

December 10, 2018
Press Release

MEDINA, NY- After a two year hiatus, the "Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols" will draw the community together again to celebrate the joyful and spiritual season of Christmas.

"This year more than ever, we are looking forward to the festival," said Aaron Grabowski, Music Director and Principal Organist at Holy Trinity Parish. "With all the headlines in the world today, I think people are hungry for this kind of spiritual respite at Christmastime- it brings a measure of peace. It is about an hour in length and is a beautiful way to capture the spirit of the season. It's especially wonderful to attend with family and friends."

The local ecumenical event has been hosted for over eight years by Holy Trinity Parish at Medina's historic St. Mary Church. This year, the event will be held on Saturday, December 15 at 7:00PM, with a pipe organ prelude at 6:30PM.

The festival is a choral program celebrating the holidays in the tradition of King's College Chapel in Cambridge, England, and consists of nine Scriptural readings that tell the story of the birth of the Messiah, interspersed with choral music. It is much beloved world-wide and is celebrated in thousands of parishes around the globe at Christmastime.

Interior of St. Mary RC Church Medina where the 2018 Festival of Nine Lessons & Carols will take place on December 15 at 7:00PM


This years' Festival Choir features over twenty voices- members of the Genesee Chorale, a Batavia based ensemble that is widely known across Western New York. The choir will be accompanied by the pipe organ in St. Mary's. The Festival consists of nine Scriptural readings as read by readers from around WNY that tell the story of the birth of the Messiah, interspersed with choral music of the season.

In 2015, the addition of voices from the Genesee Chorale took the festival in a new direction. Chorale Director, Ric Jones and Holy Trinity's Aaron Grabowski collaborated, looking to add a different dimension to the choral portion of the program.

"Members of the Chorale love being a part of this wonderful community event," said Jones. "I've always seen 'Lessons' as an event that brings the community together- something we all need in a troubled world. These select members of the Chorale hail from all over Western New York, including Medina. It will be an amazing evening of uplifting inspirational music, unifying all in music and the celebration of Christmas."

Members of the 2018 Festival Choir include Sopranos Marsha Coy, Barbara Galliford, Janine Fagnan, Joan Ellison and Heather Lovelace.

Altos include Jane Christensen, Jessica Beal, Cathy Preston, Holly Castleman, Nancy Hoag and Karen Jones.

Tenors are Norm Woodworth, Ric Jones and Paul-Joseph Struckmann, along with Basses Mark Christensen, Charles Gould, Dan Warner, Jim Ellison.

Music selections this year include Once In Royal David's City, Sussex Carol (arr David Willcocks), Adam Lay Y Bounden (Ord), Jesus Christ the Apple Tree (Poston), Gaudete -Piae Cantiones, O Come O Come Emmanuel, The Annunciation Carol (Thiman), Lo How a Rose, Angelus Ad Virginem (arr Stephen Cleobury), Of The Fathers Love Begotten, While Shepherds Watch Their Flocks (Winchester Old), Cradle Song (Rutter), God Rest ye Merry, Gentlemen; O Come All Ye Faithful, and Hark The Herald Angels Sing.

"This will be a beautiful program featuring traditional music of the season, sung by both choir and congregation. The Chorale voices will absolutely fill the soaring neo-gothic church. If you've been looking for that special event to celebrate the true meaning of Christmas and really find the spirit of the season, this is it. Not to be missed." said Grabowski.

The magnificent pipe organ of St. Mary Church- undergoing a rebuild and restoration by Grabowski himself (Grabowski of Parsons Pipe Organ Builders in Canandaigua, NY)- is featured in a prelude with a program of traditional French pieces for organ.

Scripture readers for the event include First Lesson - Elaine White Lovelace, United Methodist Church, Medina; Second Lesson - Madelyn Lewis, Holy Trinity Roman Catholic Parish, Medina; Third Lesson - Natalie Pelicano, All Saints Roman Catholic Parish, Lockport; Patricia Worrad, St. John Episcopal Parish, Medina; Fifth Lesson - Barb Filipiak, Holy Trinity Roman Catholic Parish, Medina; Sixth Lesson - Georgette Stockman, St. John Episcopal Parish, Medina; Seventh Lesson - Paul-Joseph Struckmann, Trinty Lutheran Church, Lockport; Eighth Lesson - Marie Socha, St. Peter Evangelical Lutheran CHurch, Medina; and Ninth Lesson - Rev. Daniel J. Fawls, Pastor - Holy Trinity Roman Catholic Parish, Medina.

The event is family friendly, open to all and free of charge. A "free will offering" will benefit the Community Food Pantry at St. Peter Evangelical Lutheran Church, Medina.

Saturday, December 15 at St. Mary RC Church, 211 Eagle Street, Medina. A pipe organ prelude begins at 6:30 p.m. with the Festival starting at 7:00PM and running through approximately 8:15PM. The Festival of Nine Lessons & Carols is supported by the Orleans Renaissance Group, Inc.



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